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Media Alert: Expert Available to Speak on Accessibility and the Elderly

February 2, 2003

More and more senior citizens are being forced to use technology - cell phones, computers, automatic teller machines, medical devices, the Internet. But the design of many technology platforms presents insurmountable challenges for those with physical limitations, declining eyesight or diminished cognitive ability. As a result, aging members of the population often have difficulty completing tasks or getting the information they need from web sites or other technology.

Bill Gribbons, associate professor of Information Design at Bentley College, is available to speak as an expert on web site accessibility and the elderly. He can speak on what is involved in making web sites and other technology more accessible and "best practices" in usability and design.

Gribbons can also provide insight on how issues of accessibility will continue to affect medical, financial, travel and health care industries, as well as government agencies.

"This is an exploding market," Gribbons says. "As baby boomers age the elderly are going to become a bigger part of the market and one that companies are going to want to target. Not only is it good for society for us to help the elderly; but it is just good business to do so."

For the past 15 years, Gribbons has developed and led Bentley's Information Design program, one of the oldest, largest and most respected in the country. Gribbons himself is considered an authority in the field, and has helped numerous Fortune 500 companies improve the usability of their technology products through user-centered design. He's a frequent presenter at local and national conferences, addressing issues of information design, human factors and product usability.

"We try to impress upon both clients and students that good information and system design begins by considering user's goals, and then designing a system that satisfies those needs in the simplest possible fashion," Gribbons says.

Bill Gribbons is founder of Bentley's Design and Usability Testing Center (http://ecampus.bentley.edu/org/dutc/) which allows corporate clients to test system designs and gain user feedback on web sites, software or other IT products. It is also the only non-profit design and usability testing center on a college campus. He is president of W.M Gribbons Consulting, a leading usability and design group and has helped numerous Fortune 500 companies improve the usability of their technology products through user-centered design.

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit www.bentley.edu

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